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    Friday, December 11, 2020

    Mastercard, Visa Cut Off Pornhub Following Charges Of Illegal Content

    Credit card giants said that they are investigating their business relationship with Pornhub after a prominent newspaper columnist alleged that the pornographic website shows videos of rape and underage sex.

    Mastercard has cut ties with the pornography website Pornhub and Visa is suspending payment processing after a New York Times columnist accused the site in hosting illegal videos of child abuse and sexual assault.

    'Today, the use of our cards at Pornhub is being terminated. Our investigation over the past several days has confirmed violations of our standards prohibiting unlawful content on their site,' Mastercard confirmed in a statement to DailyMail.com on Thursday.

    'As a result, and in accordance with our policies, we instructed the financial institutions that connect the site to our network to terminate acceptance. In addition, we continue to investigate potential illegal content on other websites to take the appropriate action,' the company added.

    Visa, which is conducting its own probe on the matter, said that it is 'suspending Pornhub’s acceptance privileges pending the completion of our ongoing investigation.'

    'We are instructing the financial institutions who serve MindGeek to suspend processing of payments through the Visa network,' the company said in a statement.

    'At Visa, we are vigilant in our efforts to stamp out illegal activity on our network, and we encourage our financial institution partners to regularly review their merchants’ compliance of our standards on this and other platforms.'

    American Express has a longstanding policy of not working with adult websites.

    Pornhub said Tuesday it was halting unverified users from uploading videos after a New York Times column alleged that the pornographic website was 'infested' with videos of rape and underage sex.

    Nicholas Kristof, opinion columnist at The New York Times, wrote Friday that Pornhub carries rape scenes, revenge pornography and other examples of explicit video taken without consent of the participants.

    '[The] site is infested with rape videos. It monetizes child rapes, revenge pornography, spy cam videos of women showering, racist and misogynist content, and footage of women being asphyxiated in plastic bags,' Kristof continued.

    Pornhub, the Times said, also lets users download the videos in question directly from its site, which permits anyone to repost the clips repeatedly and without limit.

    Pornhub responded in a statement that it is 'irresponsible and flagrantly untrue' to suggest that it allows images of the sexual abuse of children on its site.

    Pornhub added that it employs moderators to screen every upload and that it removes illegal material.

    The online payment service PayPal last year stopped processing payments to Pornhub, which is owned by the pornography conglomerate MindGeek. The columnist called out other card issuers for working with the site.

    On Tuesday, Pornhub released a statement pledging to take 'major steps to further protect our community.'

    'Going forward, we will only allow properly identified users to upload content. We have banned downloads,' the company added.

    In future, only content partners and those who earn ad revenue from their videos will be permitted to upload videos to the site.

    'In the new year, we will implement a verification process so that any user can upload content upon successful completion of identification protocol,' the statement read.

    Once content has been uploaded, Pornhub will block downloading content. Users will no longer be allowed to export videos from the site, other than through paid downloads which are triggered through the company’s verified system.

    Pornhub has also pledged to increase moderation of content currently on the platform through its newly established 'Red Team,' which will be tasked with 'proactively sweeping content already uploaded for potential violations and identifying any breakdowns in the moderation process.'

    The company says it will also be releasing its first transparency report in 2021, outlining the results of moderation from the previous year.

    Pornhub said that 'every online platform has the moral responsibility' to join in the fight against depictions of child sexual abuse or non-consensual activity.

    In its statement, the company attributed the seismic policy shift to an independent review it launched in April, geared toward eliminating all illegal content from its platform.

    However, the move was revealed just four days after Kristof's searing, the Children of Pornhub, article was published by the Times, and just 24 hours after officials at MasterCard and Visa launched a probe into their business links with site.

    The credit card giants warned that they would cut ties with Pornhub's parent company, MindGeek, if it turns out that the site is not following the law. 

    MindGeek, a privately held pornography conglomerate based in Montreal, is also the owner of similar popular YouTube-like adult portals, including YouPorn and RedTube. 

    It also owns and operates popular adult film production companies Brazzers, Reality Kings, Sean Cody, and others.

    It is unclear whether the payment processor crackdown will apply to the other streaming sites as well.

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